A Character Analysis of Daisy Miller

863 Words4 Pages
In Daisy Miller, Henry James slowly reveals the nature of Daisy"s character through her interactions with other characters, especially Winterbourne, the main character." The author uses third person narration; however, Winterbourne"s thoughts and point of view dominate." Thus, the audience knows no more about Daisy than Winterbourne." This technique helps maintain the ambiguity of Daisy"s character and draws the audience into the story. At first glimpse, Daisy is portrayed as a "pretty American flirt" whose innocence Winterbourne is unsure of, and yet he says he was "almost grateful for having found the formula that applied to Miss Daisy Miller" (James 1563)." Like many people do in first impressions, Winterbourne feels the need to label Daisy right away." In the beginning, the stereotype seems to fit." Daisy is young, unsophisticated, chatty, and brags about all the society, especially gentlemen"s society she had in New York (1562)." She enjoys teasing and getting reactions out of people just for the sake of it." For example, the second time she and Winterbourne meet, late one evening in the garden, she asks him if he wants to take her out in a boat on the lake." Of course, her mother and the courier protest while Daisy laughs and declares, "That"s all I want " a little fuss!"She had no intention of going; she just wanted to get a rise out of someone." Bidding good-night to Winterbourne, she says, "I hope you"re disappointed, disgusted, or something!" (1572)." She is being flirtatious, but this kind of teasing is also just part of her sense of humor. Daisy Miller may be uneducated, as Winterbourne and his aunt describe her, but she is witty." One illustration of her humor takes place at Mrs. Walker"s party when Winterbourne is criticizing her for her relations with Giovanelli." He says they don"t "understand that sort of thing here"not in young married women."Daisy cries, "I thought they understood nothing else!" and goes on to say, "It seems to me more proper in young unmarried than in old married ones."Daisy typically speaks and behaves frankly, almost in a child-like fashion, but this shows, as the narrator describes it, a "startling worldly knowledge" (1587)." Daisy is somewhat rustic but smart." She has a "natural elegance" and a mixture of" "innocence and crudity," and yet, as seen in her response, her character proves to go beyond the boundaries of this character type of the natural beauty (1564 and 1574).
Open Document